Friday, August 31, 2007

night walks

I love Magpie Girl's idea of habitude, to take on "one mildly transforming life habit a month". This month's habitude is to walk 30 minutes a day. For some reason it took me a few days to sign someone who lives car-free, walking is a regular part of each day. I'm interested to see how much my 30 minutes is already integrated into my lifestyle (or not). I often bike and semi-often i wondered if i could cancel out the 30 minutes on those days, but if at all possible I intend to have it be seperate from my other activities. I mean, cause this is a new 'habit' right?

I've been walking to work this week, and from my home to my clients is just about 30 minutes. These night walks have coincided with the full moon which has been dreamy and grounding at the same time. I am intending to do my habitude walks as part of an evening routine. Either after dinner, when my body needs that extra umph or as a night walk.

I'm looking forward to more moonlight.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Self Portrait Challenge: Creating New Patterns

for this final week of the theme 'patterns' for the self portrait challenge, i decided that i wanted to end it off with intention. so here it is.

the other entries this month have focused on visual patterns, but this time i wanted to focus on patterns in terms of behaviour. in the last year art and photography has become a vital part of my life and i intend to make it even more so. now that my art desk is actually functional and no longer a dumping ground for bills, i want to make sure i sit down there daily, even for a wee bit either to journal, paint, collage or even print/work on photos.

i'm looking forward to finding out what the next theme is!

look here for more of the self portrait challenge.

Monday, August 27, 2007

life goals

at the end of high school we had to write our goals beside our photo in the yearbook. i wrote something to the effect of: to live a long and happy life. as soon as i entered it i felt embarrased. i didn't have goals like my peers did. i was going to university, but not because i was inspired to, but because that was what was expected of me. for years i struggled with that same question...what is your goals....trying to find an answer that would sound good in an alumni update. vivienne became a ________ and has ________ and _________. i have had no success with that question.

subtly in the last year i have stopped trying to answer it. i have stopped telling my parents and people from my past what my latest academic plan is. i've planned to become a midwife, teacher, nurse and counsellor. though many of those areas do interest me, i was stating these plans out of expectations, not because of personal passion.

maybe it has something to do with turning 30, or perhaps it is from coming out of a depression, but i have realized that my highschool goal was nothing to be ashamed of. it was right on target.

my life goal: to live a long and happy life. and proud of it.

to me this means to live creatively, to eat delicious and nutritious food, to find joy in each day, to be active, to celebrate down time, to listen to my intuition, to cultivate healthy relationships.

thats why that decision yesterday (by my health benefit company) frustrated me so much. because they think that just because i weigh 195 pound (yes...i said it) that my length and quality of life is in detriment. they have no clue. they have no clue at all.

i've worked really really hard at learning to love my body. what happened yesterday will not damage that love.
today i went on a fabulous bike ride through the endowment lands and around ubc. it felt so great to be surrounded by tall old trees, moss, beautiful new growth and fallen trees. it was exactly what i needed to both get the anger and frustration out of my system and to ground myself in the day. my bike and the trail filled me up again with the life force. i'm thankful for the day.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

fat phobia (i love my curves)

i am pissed off.

i am being charged an extra monthly cost with the new health benefits I am getting, because i am overweight. seriously. apparently if i lose 15 pounds and keep it off for the next year they will 'reassess' their decision.

this may not be a surprise to some. i keep very separate from the allopathic medical system, partially to avoid such attitudes. to be honest, i don't experience much direct fat phobia. mostly i am just ignored.

i've already written to the fellow who is my contact at the company, requesting information on how to complain about this and that i will not be losing 15 pounds and keeping it off for the next year for the purpose of pleasing them.
i am blessed with a healthy body. i conciously make an effort to treat it well and keep it healthy. i have food allergies that keep me eating way healthier than most people. i keep active/run/work out not to lose weight but because i feel like it is the key to keeping me mentally healthy. i have no shame in my love for chocolate, i do not smoke (anymore), i rarely drink, i don't do drugs and have never done anything that is not plant based and one of my main modes of transportation is my bicycle! did they ask about any of that? hell no (except the smoking).

i'm seriously healthy!
apparently being fat will shorten my life. you know what i think?
i think that believing that will shorten my life.

thank goodness this plan covers counselling because i think i need a few sessions to get out my frustration at how much we are told that who we are is wrong or not enough (or too much).


today i just couldn't decide what to do or where to go, but felt like i should do something. I'm not a fan of shoulds.
Shoulds make me feel like I am not listening to my own needs.

so after feeling grumpy for a bit it came to me that rather than looking outside my home and outside myself to find joy or inspiration or even 'worth' in my day, that i need to do just that...look inside my home/self for inspiration. so i decided to take a photo adventure without leaving the house.

hopefully when such moments arrise again i can look around and look back and try to be more present in my home.

my friend hilary's pelvis painting and a collage i'm working on

my newly cleaned and organized art table

a fairy painting by my mom, and the first painting i ever purchased (by jordan bent)

words on canvas and words on mirrors

a truly insiraptional book, called the red book and a self portrait with a work in progress.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

slow mo and lomo

i have a number of half written drafts of posts, like cut-off journal entries stopped mid sentence.
i've been feeling a bit sad for the last day, without any clear reason, so there has been a lot of sorting through emotions and trying to figure out the best way to soothe those feelings, witness them, and then figure out what i need to do to work through it towards the happiness i am so appreciative of lately.

so today was clearly asking me to be gentle (so here is my happy list of the day).

lots of napping...
a gentle photo adventure to the wee park/trail that is literally across the road (which i always forget about!)...
a delicious mocha...
a cashier with the same name...
watching my friend on tv...
reading and filled with gratitude for all the wonderful artfull bloggers...
listening to richard shindell...

i'm also falling deeply, and i mean deeply (as in head over heels), in love with lomo photography. i'm doing my best to resist spending my entire paycheck on vintage and toy cameras!

here's a few lomo links...

-first on my wish list is a holga camera. check out all of the rough beauty this camera produces. i like that you never quite know what you are gonna get!
-another appreciator of the holga. check out this womans photographs. they are so vibrant. she inspires me!
-the danger zone: the lomography website.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Superhero Assignment #4

Yes, monday was superheroassignment day, but although i was looking my food, in trees, on the ground...i didn't find a subject matter to fit the assignment up until today, which is: photograph a face that mysteriously appears. i love the little grin that is part of this sidewalk face!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Self Portait Challenge: Patterns (week 4)

i love tuesdays. i wake up wondering what todays theme for the SPC shall be. lately i have changed some daily pattens, specifically surrounding the setting of this photo: my bed. i have hmm....4 different rather obnoxious patterns on my bed. i love it. some people have said it would likely keep them awake, but not i. i feel ready for vibrant dreams wrapped up in all this bright beauty.

i am the type of person who jumps out of the bed upon waking ready to start the day and to some degree i have some guilt around staying in bed. no matter how much SARK i read i just can't seem to get in the swing of it. even naps, though i enjoy them, mean to me that i am either not getting enough sleep or need to be exercising more. i love when i have a visitor and can lounge in bed together...having someone else in my bed somehow gives me permission to just revel in resting. alas, that only happens once in a while, so up i get in the morning (or early afternoon if i am sleeping off a night shift).

but the last few days have been different. i have been waking up to the sounds of meows demanding attention. usually i would just get up and deal with them, make coffee and start my day. but i've been attending to their needs and then dissapearing back into the beautiful patterns of my bed. perhaps it has been that i am a dedicated reader these days. and also i have not been craving coffee in the morning, which is something that has been a pattern for oh, a decade. whatever the reason, i am enjoying my slow mornings, listening to what i need rather than what i should be doing with my day!

Monday, August 20, 2007

the muse

if you've ever talked with me about music, you would know that i often talk about my 'favourite' musician and that who i state is my favourite is often different. its not that my music tastes change often, but that i have a large number of favourites and love them all with great intensity

(actually i have also been known to describe many people as my 'bestest' friends. and in the same way i love them all with great intensity)

last night i went to see my 'favourite' performer, miss paula cole.

can i tell you why i adore her so much?

its partly her intensely spiritual lyrics and equally powerful feminist lyrics. that alone would make me adore her but if you have ever seen her live you may understand what i am going to say next.

paula cole is the most authentic and alive performer i have ever seen.

when she walked onto the stage she looked at us in the audience making eye contact and smiling. one of the most noticable things about her performance is how comfortable she seems in her own skin. she dances freely, twirls, jumps, gets her band dancing. the whole show. so vibrant, authentic, present. she sings as though she is using her full vocal potential.

as if that isn't enough, she ended the show by beat boxing! i had been dancing along throughout the whole show, stopping once in a while to snap a few photos. but when she started beat boxing i automatically raised my hands up in what felt like a moment of praise. its the way i stand when i am calling in a circle. i often think about how music and spirituality are so interconnected for me. sometimes the two intercept without even trying!

feeling so inspired, i had to ask myself after the show...what would arrise if i made more room for music in my life? what if i offered space each day for writing, singing and simply playing. it used to be a part of my daily life back when i lived in victoria and was playing shows once in a while. i've still written songs on and off over the years and i'm so grateful for all of the other creative mediums that have been coming forward in the last year. but i do feel like there is more vocal capacity to be discovered, more authenticity to stand in, more words waiting to be manifested.

time to stop avoiding the muse!

Friday, August 17, 2007

fat friday: beth ditto

on my bike ride today i was thinking about how much I am enjoying the monday superhero challenge, self portrait tuesday and my everyday photo offering to 365. these tasks have me feeling grounded in my daily creative life.

and i have been wanting to write a post all week about how empowered i am feeling in my body lately. there are so many factors that have brought me to this positive place and that are helping me keep there. the live journal fatshionistas community, going on lots of bike rides and a more visible and positive presence of fat/chubster women in the mainstream media, and especially a lovely collection of beautiful amazing empowered chubster friends.

jennifer hudson, nicky blonsky (from hairspray), beth ditto, ...all make me feel fat 'n fab.

but i realized i need more than one post to express this appreciation.

so i've decided to start the weekdays with a creative rush and end the week with some gratitude for body lovin'. and i'd hope you don't have to be a chubster to appreciate those who are working hard to be accepted as they are (aren't we all in some way or another).

that makes today the very first heroine/queen of friday/fat femme extrordonaire: the great beth ditto

i mean, this magazine cover alone is more than enough to merit her being at the top o' my list of empowered chubsters. really, that is what i see in the mirror. its amazing to see it on a magazine. i could end this post with this picture and have said enough, but i will go on and tell you a story.

a few years ago i was sitting on the patio of my favourite local pub logans (when i lived in victoria) partaking in a beverage when i heard this deep southern voice yell at me to stand up. so of course i did. she made me stand on the bench i think. "i want your skirt" she said. and went on to attempt to convince me that i should give it to her. she tried real hard.

it should be said that i had no idea who these 3 americans were. yes, they were playing at the bar that night but i had been brought along, a little apprehensive about a 'punk' show. punk music usually means to me that i find myself against the furthest wall attempting to not be bashed by people jumping around erratically.

so, back to the skirt. i promised that if i was ever going to get rid of it, i'd give it to her. that seemed to be a good answer (it was a knee length red skirt by the favourite one of that era). the rest of the night she proceeded to call me her BFF whenever we crossed paths and i thought 'damn this american is seriosly fabulous'.

and then she got on stage. i had no clue what i was in for. i recall being somewhat backed away from the dance pit. but at the same time seriously mesmerized by this woman. she fairly quickly was down to her bra, singin' up a storm.

here's the thing. that was the first time i'd ever felt like we chubsters were the hottest babes in the room. she has this way of spreading her 'damn i'm hot and yer just gonna have to deal with it' vibe making us feel like hot shit (which we are).

i should confess that i don't have any of 'the gossips' albums. but i'm catching up slowly on the music side of this, but it terms of role models, beth ditto is sky high on my list of people that make me proud to love my body, as is.

(the above photos of miss ditto are from the label 'kill rock stars' flickr site).

Thursday, August 16, 2007

gratitude and attitude

i'm at a cafe on main street drinking a most delicious fruit smoothie. today is another 'gentle' day (a.k.a. post-night-shift-sleep-deprived). though some days i feel most happy curled up on the couch with the kitters wandering around blogland, today i knew it was a get-outta-the-house-day.

yesterday was oh so beautiful. my friend fenner and i went on a photo-adventure to my favourite photo spot, which is this factory by the train tracks, complete with an ever changing aray of grafitti. this was my first time there with my new camera, though i must say i will never get sick of this spot. its the perfect amount of urban decay but in a setting that isn't i don't feel like i need to be watchin' my back!

i've always liked things (and people) that are a bit rough around the edges. and now that i live in the fancy-pants part of town, its nice to return to that rugged beauty to remind myself that perfection and destruction can sometimes be the same thing.

this weeks happy list:

sounds: richard shindell's new album South of Delia is knocking my socks off, as his work usually does. i'm also super excited to see miss paula cole with mandy moore this weekend...!

words: i'm lost in two books, one fiction: Walking to Mercury, by Starhawk as well as one nonfiction: The Red Book by Sera Beak

plans: along with the concert on sunday, the Vancouver Queer Film Festival is starting! Super exciting because other than taking photos, watching films is pretty much the next best thing. I'm starting to go to more events in this town which feels lovely, and i'm hoping to make a few friend-dates to go to films!

gratitudes: this week i'm feeling mighty grateful for the lovely families i work with, bright blue skies, fruit smoothies, photoadventures alone and with friends, learning about my camera, feeling seen, mini skirts, my silver birkies, a plentiful life, making new friends, richard shindell's songwriting, connections with my family, words from friends afar, good communication (others are having with me), being called on my sometimes poor communication, flowers oh beloved flowers, lugz cafe on main, free wireless and mostly i'm very very thankful to be healthy and have the ability to ride my beautiful new bicyclette.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Self Portrait Challenge: Patterns (week 3)

As mentioned in an earlier post, I have been noticing the way the natural world makes shadows on the constructed world and am entranced by these patterns. On my walk to the cafe this morning the sun was at the perfect place to give me many many shadow patterns to work with. The one above is one of my favourites, hence my offering for this weeks self portait challenge.

As I was snapping my way towards caffine, a mom and lil' guy came across me. He asked his mom what I was doing. She said I was an artist, taking pictures. I explained that today I was looking at all of the patterns that I see along my way and I pointed out that there are lots of patterns made on purpose, by accident, or naturally, like the sewer cover, a pattern made by tar, or the shadow of the tree.

He thought this was pretty cool. They decided they were going to try to notice patterns along their way today. He asked me to take a picture of his bike.

I love how art spreads itself with such ease!

Monday, August 13, 2007


a few of the many things keeping me in a state of perma-smile:

-photo adventures. i'm loving what each day brings. todays theme that arose was taking pictures of the shadows. i am completely smitten with this creative medium!

-my new beautiful bike. i had rode past this bike the other day and thought it was the most purdy bike i'd ever seen. a day later i saw it on craigslist. it wasn't too expensive, and though i love and adore my lil' green bike (miss magnolia princess of eternal springtime) i needed something that could get me big distances.

-rediscovering what 'connection' feels like. after having a year of some serious solitude, it was almost like i forgot what it feels like to really just have that spark with people. to know that someone will most definitely be your friend, to connect with old friends, to meet people that within a second you know you were meant to meet, to be amazed at the type of people i seem to be drawing to me. at the same time i am retaining this wonderful commitement to my solo time!

-a picnic in the park with a collection of femmes! beautiful lovely people that i am proud to call my community. i am learning so much about myself in their company. a few lovely folks put together a beautiful zine called 'romance for rebels' that is so beautiful. i was part of a dialouge with these lovely ladies on 'being a femme in love'. its a beautiful collection of works...

-oh the kitters. they are spending as much of the day outside as possible. they are HAPPY. which makes me happy. i always love them, but there are certain times when my love is with such ferocity it blows me away.

Superhero Assignment #3

Photograph a heart that appears on your path:

i took this one this week while wandering a community for hours, taking photos. not only did i love that this flower was a heart, but the deep blood red/purple petals make it all the more luscious. i'm loving these superhero assignments!

Thursday, August 09, 2007


i'm on day 3 of 5 night shifts in a row. By the way, if you don't know, I work as a postpartum doula. I'm darn tired. The kitters seem to think they are my alarm clock that goes off every morning at not much sleep this whole week.

When i have weeks like this i just try to make something lovely of each day, be it going for lunch, making my home clean and purdy or like today, a walk to the cafe armed with my camera. So it is a gentle week. I noticed today that i was craving to take pictures in black and white.

a gentle day full of simple images just felt right today.